About 2 weeks ago, I started writing a draft for a post about gay marriage--but it was awful. The prose was uninteresting, I was having trouble articulating my thoughts, and there was no flow to the post. So I abandoned it. But thanks to a recent letter written to the editor of The Capital, I can now let my views be known.
This letter ran on Monday, but I am on blog backlog. Here we go:
Regarding the article headlined "Court upholds gay marriage ban":
I cannot figure out why there is opposition to gay marriage.
Allow me to enlighten you. A certain portion of the population thinks that homosexuality is wrong, thus they oppose gay marriage. Another part of the population, myself included, realizes that 'marriage' is a holy sacrament that can only be ministered through a church.
I do not understand why, in an ever-changing world, we do not allow all American citizens the same rights.
You have hit the nail on the head, but not for the reasons you think. The root of the gay marriage debate starts with the government's improper involvement in marriage in the first place.
I believe that marriage is a holy sacrament--a religious rite. The government has no more business issuing marriage licenses than it does licenses to receive your first Holy Communion or licenses to have a Bar Mitzvah.
So why does the government find it necessary to become involved in the marriage business? Because it's a convenient way to answer a lot of questions. In the eyes of the church, marriage is a holy partnership, but in the eyes of the government, it's just another contract--a social contract that allows for special tax treatment, denotes procedures if one partner dies, etc. Having a government issued marriage license is merely a safeguard for the legal system to minimize the possibility of confusion.
And AP has never understood why married couples enjoy special tax treatment. It makes no sense. If you have a kid, you can claim a dependent, but why should the act of getting married mean that the persons involved should pay any more or less than the sum of their individual tax liabilities?
I have a solution, or at least an improvement. The government can still issue social contracts, but they must not call them marriage licenses. They should not even be issuing marriage licenses to heterosexual couples. If two people want to live together, fine--they specify each other in their government-issued social contract and can receive preferential treatment*. If you and another person are raising a child, you should get the same treatment whether you are married and created the child, or you are homosexual and adopted the child, or you are related to the child but not its mother or father.
(*Heaven forbid the tax and legal systems would treat people the same, regardless of marital status, life-partner status, or any other status except how many dependents you are responsible for.)
Call the social contract whatever you want, but not marriage. Because marriage is a religious thing, and the goals that (I assume) homosexuals wish to achieve pertain to quality of life and fairness but have nothing to do with what marriage really is.
We all know that there is freedom of religion in this country. Religions determine their own qualifications for marriage, and the first qualification of marriage in every religion that I am aware of is that one person is male and the other is female, which is why there cannot be gay marriage.
I suppose the opponents think that being gay is a chosen path in life. why, when prejudices still exist, would anyone volunteer to be gay, to be discriminated against, to be ostracized, and to love someone but not be able to solidify that love in holy matrimony?
I actually think that the writer makes a good point in that nobody would make the choice to go through such purported agony. However, as I have explained above, you can live in legal matrimony but not holy matrimony. And while this may not seem like a difference to you, I can assure you on behalf of many people of faith that the distinction is important.
Gay couples are no different than heterosexual couples. They are committed to each other. They share responsibilities and life experiences. They simply respect and love each other.
Yet, they struggle to be recognized in the states as married couples.
The next sentence that she writes contradicts the sentence she just wrote. Watch.....
Why is it up to the state legislature to define and measure love by sexual orientation?
This question is right on target. But, 2 sentences ago you just complained about states failing to recognize homosexual couples. Let me clear your mind for you...states should not recognize any marriages, homosexual or heterosexual. They can recognize social contracts through living wills, or any other legal crap, but not through marriage, because states are not religions.
It's no joke to say that the No. 1 reason for divorce is marriage.
You know, now that I think about it, the No. 1 reason for car accidents is cars. Down with Ford!!!!
Heterosexual couples have marital obstacles, but they do not have to endure the scrutiny and lack of marital legal protection that same-sex couples have to tolerate.
Broken record comment of the day: marriage should not convey any special legal protection. Marriage should be removed as a determining factor for legal and tax codes.
Some say marriage by same sex couples is immoral and would destroy societal family values.
This, of course, is an interesting proposition, but a propostion that I do not want to indulge at this time.
Advocating hatred and prejudice, not marriage between two people who are in love and committed to each other, is the real problem.
I would say that failure to separate church and state is the problem.
But what do I know?
Do you want me to answer that?
I'm just a confused, heterosexual, married mother of two trying to find an answer to why all Americans can't share in democracy, justice, fairness, liberty, and equality.
They can share in those things. However, not all Americans--whether gay or straight--can share in marriage because that has to be done through a church and not all people qualify.
Aren't these the ideals and values we should be teaching our children? Aren't they really what America is all about?
SAMANTHA HINER, Annapolis
Religious and moral issues are difficult to debate, because if you feel differently than another person, they think you are calling them an immoral pagan asshole. People become defensive and even more entrenched in their positions. But hopefully this post will help to frame the gay marriage debate in a different light.